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Is tiers the best CM can do?

Discussion in 'F1 2012 - The Game' started by Reanimocio, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. I started this topic in the CM forum as well but I'd like to get a bit of a discussion here as well.

    So for the guys who don't know - In CM's F1 2012 (and previous games as well) the field is in tiers, the higher a car is in a tier naturally it's faster. For example, Red Bull, Mc Laren, Ferrari (I think? Maybe more like "Alonso" because Massa is very weak in the game) in Tier 1; Lotus, Merc in Tier 2; Marussia, Catherham, HRT in Tier 5 (or six? Regardless, the last one). In career the tiers is pre-determined at the start of every season. In season 1 you get the cars in their natural order according to CM. Then at the end of the season depending on the order in the WCC teams get promoted/demoted. Usually Ferrari is very weak in Season 2 because Alonso is the only one scoring consistent strong points. Their place is taken by Lotus/Mercedes (I believe I have seen Ferrari getting demoted by more than 1 tier as Alonso was usually 10-12 in qualy while Felipe Baby Massa 15-17). But my biggest problem with the tier system is at the bottom. The team which finished 9th and the team which finished 10 swap their places. Caterham/Marussia become a midfield team and Toro Rosso/Force India (usually) join the backmarkers (the teams that are 3-5 seconds slower). So basically for each season you get the same difference between the field with drivers the only variable (and I don't believe there is a driver in the game who can make a massive difference to the car's performance). And not only that but for EACH of the FIVE seaons in Career Mode you will always have THREE backmarkers off the pack with no chance of them taking points. And teams performing good at circuts just because their certain tier. I was absolutely appaled to watch Red Bull 1-2 in Monza just because their cars are Tier 1 despite the fact that since the next regulations were introduced in 2009 they have always struggled there (bar 2011 with the off-throttle exhaust diffuser)

    So what do you guys think about it? Personally, I find that system ridiculously boring and lazy. I don't want to race every season in pretty much the same field with the difference being that for example one year the 4th best team have the same pace to the 4th best team next year, with the only difference basically being the liveries and the drivers' names. Basically the difference between teams doesn't actually shrink/become bigger but they are swapping places.

    For me a much much better way to determine how strong each team is by a huge breaking down of the characteristics of the car. A F1 car is a very complex beast and there could be hundreds of different things that could have values (some of them already exist). Tyre management (could even be broken down to a tyre managment for each of the 4 (6 incl. wets and inters). Tyre temperature (maybe even different values for both in both cold and hot conditions) -some teams like Ferrari had major problems heating the tyres this year like Ferrari, best example being USA GP. Other teams, like Merc in Australia, USA, India (and a lot more places) had major problems because they were cooking their tyres causing more degradation. Both front and rear mechanical grip (suspension) Front downforce (determined by the front suspension and the front wing), rear downforce (determined by the exhaust, the real wing and the engine cover), drag coeffecient. You get the point, there are countless things that form the overall performance of a F1 car. With the possibility of a certain positive part to have an effect a negative to another (like the Coanda exhaust taking away BHP from the engine last season) And by using such method every team could seek different development routes making them faster is specific conditions and specific tracks. And then in the end of the season some kind of an adjustment is made so teams by season 5 we won't see field of 22 super cars. And having an off-chance that the backmarkers have shortened the gap and are battling with the midfield.

    So what do you guys think about the current state of things? I'm not saying my idea is perfect, or even possible to implement properly but I regard what we have currently lazy, boring and pathetic programming.

    PS: Just a side note, I'm not saying CM to add every single aspect of a F1 car but maybe a few and they to dictate the car performance, not the tier number.
  2. Well first a correction is in order; there are numerous variables that dictate car performance in F1 2012. However I feel CM got overwhelmed with this, and hence made the tier system. If you edit the CTF files in the F1 2012\cars\[me2 for example]\balanced directory you'll see all sorts of car performance variables. Drag coefficients, damper settings, caster, KERS duration and power, wing curvature, grip levels, etc etc etc. However, it appears all these values are the same for each car, and for each track (someone correct me if I'm wrong here, I haven't looked at ALL the CTF files yet...)
    This is where the tier system comes in. Rather than CM taking the time to analyze each car individually for its specific performance variations, it appears they simply tier'd the cars (aka essentially applied a generic performance modifier value based on the team) so the "back markers" stay in the back, and the "front-runners" stay in the front. Understandable when you have an entire game to code...but still, the tier system I feel is a bit too generic and doesn't allow for the tiny differences in each car that gives one car an advantage at one track, but a disadvantage at another....like you said Ferrari having issues getting tyre heat up at the US GP for example.

    I've also been trying to figure out a way to get rid of the tier-ing system by modding the database.bin file. However I'm having difficulty figuring out what values the game actually uses to determine who's going to be fast and who's not.

    I did find that changing the values in the ai_tier_characteristics table had massive effects on the game. Changing the values for tier 4 cars (which are all set at .1 by default) to something like .75 (which I thought would be a better/more realistic performance variation from the front runners which are set at 1, .9, and .84 respectively for each tier -- 1, 2, and 3) caused Karthikayan and other typical back-marker drivers to qualify and race in the top 5 at every race I tested!

    So after that I set the tier 4 performance values in the ai_tier_characteristics table to .2 and had the entire field separated by 1.2 - 1.5 seconds depending on the track...hey that's cool! Closer performing teams! Means better competition overall...more passing, more mistakes, more carnage! Woo! And the back-markers did stay in the back, the front runners in the front. Just the lap time difference was smaller. So, you can understand my mentality of setting all the tiers to be equal, so there's now one less performance variable to deal with when trying to get the AI cars to act more realistically and/or as you (the player) desire. In other words it would be nice to only have to change the virtual_performance value in the "f1teams" table to determine which team will be faster or slower. THEN once that's set to your liking, you can get really detailed about it if you want and start editing the CTF files for each team (this is a daunting task, trust me...there's a car performance file for each car, for each track....so you'd be editing something like 200+ CTF files.....but hey, that's what will make the game feel more real)

    I haven't gotten to test it yet, however I'm willing to bet that setting all the performance-related values in the ai_tier_characteristics table to 1, and THEN messing with other performance values in the "f1teams" table might allow you to more easily and consistently tweak the AI performance.

    **Note** I also set Marussia and HRT to have KERS in the "f1teams" table to allow those teams to keep up with the pace a little better.
  3. I'm a student abroad and since I can't afford an Alien Dell I stick to an X360 so understandably editing is not an option for me. I did some research before my post and wasn't aware of the many different variables you mentioned but since they didn't make their way to the final retail game it doesn't really matter, I guess. What you give as an example of the values being the same fits perfectly with my opinion of incredible lazy programming. See, I don't how much of fans the CMs programmers are but I watch everything that is F1 and I'm very keen on physics/aerodynamics side of things; I don't expect everyone to be like that but unless I'd expect that unless a car is incredibly strong (RBR in 2011) chances it won't be able to dominate Hungary and Monza in the same manner.

    The "we have entire game to code" is really lame explanation, something I'd expect a person like Mr. Hood to say :D (I'm not calling you lame, I think it came out a bit ambiguous). Pretty much every racing game from arcade (Revolt, LOL), to commercial sim (making it simcade, Forza 4) to sim there are values that define the vehicle's behavior - be it speed, handling, acceleration. You don't get that in F1 2012 - you get 4 or 5 tiers with 2-3 cars in each. So basically a Ferrari-powered Sauber couldn't not be faster than a Renault-powered Lotus/RBR @ Monza because it's couple of tiers down. Is it really that hard to implement 5 do 8 differentiating factors in TWELVE cars??

    That's very cool with the tier changes, I envy you.
  4. Unfortunately that's why I moved to the PC platform for gaming rather than console. Console's lock you in too much in my opinion, and there's no way to change anything. What you see is what you get, and sorry...if I'm spending $50+ on a DVD, then I want to customize the game to my heart's content and change things as I see fit.

    Plus PC's give you the option to upgrade parts so you can get a better gaming experience (graphics cards, CPU, steering wheel, etc etc etc) so you get to play the game exactly as you like.

    As for the coding...
    I'm sure it would've taken a small army to figure out all the intricate details for each car (drag coefficients, dampers, wing angles, etc), and for each track. And on top of that I'm sure F1 teams don't want to release that kind of info too readily lol, and CM probably didn't have the time, hours, or manpower to simply "make up" those important types of details without getting into issues of certain cars being too fast, troubleshooting that during game development, etc etc....so they generalized it with the tier system. Unfortunately this steered the game more towards an arcade, pick-up-and-play style game rather than a full simulation game. And to the people marketing the game, they'll want it to appeal to the largest number of people as possible so as to maximize sales. Little do they realize that anyone who's an F1 fan is extremely detail oriented (hell the entire sport is detail oriented, so what kinds of fans do you think it's going to attract LOL), so we (the fans) want that full sim feel...even if it takes us longer to get used to driving the car.

    So, yes I agree CM was lazy but, unfortunately, I understand why they were lazy...